Missouri’s Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder took issue with faculty and staff members at the University of Missouri who used their positions to intimidate press from covering campus protests Monday, while Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon remained quiet on the issue. Kinder, who is a Republican, released a statement Monday saying:
“On Sunday I stood by the rights of protesters to have their voices heard while also urging the need for governance by University of Missouri leadership. Today, I’m standing for another First Amendment right, the freedom of the press. Actions on Monday by University faculty and staff to infringe on students’ First Amendment rights directly contradict what is taught at our universities. This incident must be examined, and if found necessary, disciplined.”
Kinder added, “Faculty and staff cannot be allowed to pick and choose which rights, viewpoints and freedoms they respect. I renew my call to restore law and order on campus, so the rights of all are protected. The University of Missouri is funded by taxpayers. It is imperative that it be a place where freedom is paramount and all voices are heard.”
Although Nixon, a Democrat, did make a statement on Sunday saying that, “Racism and intolerance have no place at the University of Missouri or anywhere in our state,” he made no comment about as of yet, about the behavior of faculty, staff, and students treatment of the press.
The University of Missouri became a hotbed of racial issues in recent weeks over campus incidents that some students felt were not being handled appropriately. It led to protests, which involved the school’s football team, as well as the resignation of the University president Tim Wolf.
Kinder told his constituents on Sunday in part that “Racism has no place in our public institutions. Those individuals responsible for recent acts should be found out and given no reprieve. We mustn’t, however, allow the abhorrent acts of a dissident few to drive the actions that decide the future of our state University.”
He explained, “While I respect the right to peaceful protest and sincerely pray for the health and safety of all involved, I cannot ignore the necessity of law and order at our universities. Student concerns must be listened to and heard out. There is a process for that.”
“However, our universities cannot be run by individuals’ making demands or using extreme actions. The Board of Curators is in place to make informed decisions and govern, and they must be free to do so. Otherwise chaos ensues, and no student is served by that.”